Here is a mix of some classics and family friendly films that shaped my childhood and cemented my passion for the movies, thanks to what I picked out at my local Blockbuster.
Jaws led to a fascination with sharks, especially the 1912 shark attacks in New Jersey. (read the book Close to Shore) Jaws is the quintessential summer blockbuster, a thrilling ride with an incredible cast. I watch it every 4th of July, and used to read the book too.
2. The Little Mermaid
I have The Little Mermaid to thank for all the mermaid fantasies I enacted in my pool. The animation is gorgeous, (I miss 2D Disney so much) the songs are unforgettable, the characters are charming. My favorite Disney princess hands down. And no, Ariel did not want to be human just because of Eric. Did you even listen to ‘Part Of Your World’??
Maybe they’re a little cheesy, not very scary, and some of the effects are dated now, but my love for The Mummy series (which ended at two…we’re not gonna mention Tomb of the Dragon Emperor) is strong. It’s just so damn fun. Also, it was made when Brendan Fraser was really hot.
4. Jurassic Park
One of the most ultimate thrill rides, with a heart-pumping plot, captivating characters (Jeff Goldblum’s shirtless scene is really more than enough) The raptor kitchen scene is my favorite, intense and gripping, left me holding my breath the entire time. The special effects were mind-blowing for that time, and they still are. Despite the advances made in CGI, the animatronics used for the T.Rex looks so much better. The entire T. Rex reveal is just the ultimate bad ass moment. And who can forget her satisfying roar of revenge?
Yes it has cliches, a melodramatic story, cheesy dialogue and some Billy Zane overacting. But frankly, the story works. It’s an old fashioned Hollywood romance. It has sweeping visuals with breathtaking effects that perfectly capture both the ship’s wondrous awe and the heartbreaking devastation of the tragedy. Titanic will always make me cry. How could you not with the flutes somberly playing ‘My Heart Will Go On’ over the dark bottomless ocean?
It’s hard to believe with the twenty something Marvel movies being pumped out all the time, but superheroes were not a big thing back in the early 2000s. They were pretty much killed thanks to Joel Schumacher’s Batman series. But the 2002 Spider-Man ushered in a new day for the superhero films, making them popular again. Now it is the new age of gritty superhero movies. (which is pretty much a retaliation from Joel Schumacher’s godawful choices) Spider-Man was a pure popcorn flick and comic book schmaltz. I know Willem Dafoe’s insane monologues to his reflection are stupid, but I love it. There may be a lot of cartoony moments and eye-roll inducing dialogue, but it’s fun.
7. Kiki’s Delivery Service
My mom came home with this on VHS, leading my 2nd grade self to convince everyone my name was Kiki and I had magical powers. As I grew older, I grew to appreciate the film even more. Kiki’s Delivery Service is heartwarming Hayao Miyazahki masterpiece with a timeless story of the trials and tribulations that come with growing up.
8. Back To The Future
Back to the Future is infectious, a playful and lively time-travel adventure that will always be a classic. Seeing it led me to explore other films from the 80s, and there are tons of iconic films from that decade. Back to the Future is what sparked my passion for film, for that I will be forever grateful. And I completely agree with Lea Thompson, Michael J. Fox is indeed a dreamboat.
Halloween is not complete without this cute Disney romp. Another thing that sticks out is that this is one of, if not the only, Disney movies to talk so explicitly about virginity. I will be in love with Tracery Binx far longer than it is appropriate.
10. A Christmas Story
The leg lamp, the mall santa, seeing if the tongue really does stick, it’s hard to choose a favorite moment from this Christmas movie staple. Every year my family watches it on Christmas Eve, and plays the 24-hour TBS marathon the next day. This will always have a special place in my heart, probably long after I’m older when that family tradition may no longer be done, but always remembered.